Ravens penalize themselves with mistakes

Ravens penalize themselves with mistakes
October 21, 2013, 9:30 am
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When you have nine penalties for 67 yards, as the Ravens did in Sunday’s 19-16 loss to the Steelers, it can be hard to pick out just one as most illustrative of the team’s lack of sharpness, focus and discipline. But we’ll choose one that actually didn’t end up hurting in the long run — except for whatever indigestion it stirred up among fans.

At just over one minute into the second half, the Ravens faced third-and-six from their 33. Whatever he saw from the Steelers defense vis a vis the Baltimore offense, Joe Flacco apparently didn’t like, because he called timeout. Not optimal, certainly. But then, the Ravens come back to the line after the timeout and don’t get a play off in time, drawing a delay-of-game penalty.

As it turns out, Flacco then scrambled for a first down, but still, that sort of thing doesn’t happen with a veteran, winning team.

Neither does one of your best defensive players, outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil, draw three penalties  on the same series, including two on one play.

“I want to play aggressive, but at the same time you don’t want to hurt your team,” he said, as reported by our Clifton Brown. “As a veteran, you have to know when to lay off. You never want to hurt your team.”

About four minutes after the delay-of-game call, Dumervil was flagged both for offside and unnecessary roughness on a second-and-17 for Pittsburgh from the Steelers’ 30. Six plays later in the same drive, he grabbed Ben Roethlisberger’s face mask on a combined sack.

Then there was the breakdown on the ill-fated onside kick in the second half, chronicled here by Bo Smolka, which included being offside, something coach John Harbaugh called “unforgiveable.”

Regardless of how Harbaugh is feeling about such mistakes, most Ravens-Steelers games are unforgiving in general, and that’s why committing a bunch of penalties only adds to the degree of difficulty.